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City of Cedar Rapids seeking input on Citizens Police Review Board

CR BLM protest
Protest from June 13th

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) -- The City of Cedar Rapids is asking for the community's input on the formation of a citizens police review board, however the group pushing for the board, Advocates for Social Justice said they now feel pushed out of the process.

Earlier this week, the city council, city leaders, and advocates met over Zoom to discuss who can be on that board, what the timeline would look like, and what powers it will have.

Negotiating Meeting Update

The Advocates for Social Justice have been negotiating with city officials the last few weeks, and here is a video of our most recent meeting. After publicly agreeing to our demands, they have now begun to try and push us out of the task force to form the Citizen Review Board, one of our most important demands. This is disgraceful and dishonoring the will of the people. We thought it was important that our supporters know about the nefarious tactics being employed to silence us. We had to fight to be heard, we had to fight to get them to publicly state their support of our demands, and now we are fighting just to get a seat at the table. It is important that we continue to show up and make our voices heard. This is what systemic racism looks like, and we cannot, and will not let this happen !

Posted by Advocates for Social Justice on Monday, June 29, 2020

However, there were some disagreements over who should be on the board.

Councilman and Chair of the Public Safety Committee, Dale Todd said the city wanted the group to be citizens only.

"Our council said no to elected officials including me, and I'm chair of the public safety committee, including the mayor. So we thought, in order to keep the process pure don't politicize it. Us folks, us elected officials, we need to pull ourselves back from that and let the citizens do the work," said Todd.

Councilman Todd said the city is committed to form the board and give it the power it needs to be effective.

However, the Advocates for Social Justice said it's not happening fast enough.

The group posted this to its Facebook, "ASJ is disappointed to learn that instead of working with the very group that brought these demands to their attention, the mayor and city council is seeking to draw this process out over the next three months. Larger cities across this country including Minneapolis, Austin, and San Francisco and many others have found a way to usher in sweeping police reforms with the help and assistance of grassroots activists in a matter of days, while Cedar Rapids has once again resorted to a culture of delay. These actions feel like an attempt to sideline the voices of Black leaders calling for change."

However, Todd said the city doesn't want to rush the process to ensure the board is successful, which Mayor, Brad Hart echoed in a statement.

“Our goal is to form an effective and appropriate Citizen Review Board as soon as possible, and we believe we can accomplish that in no more than 90 days,” said Hart. “Cedar Rapids City Council is listening to residents’ calls for change, recognizes that the time for action is now, is responding and will keep working with the community to combat systemic racism.”

Residents are encouraged to learn more, follow the process, and submit idea and input on the City’s website at cedar-rapids.org/CRB.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/ASJBLM/posts/?ref=page_internal

Author Profile Photo

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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